I think it can be universally agreed that the fifth season of NewsRadio - the final season - was by far the worst season of the series. Not only was Phil Hartman killed during the hiatus, but another cast member (Jon Lovitz) came on board and just didn't fit in to what the rest of the group had built over the previous four seasons.
The season kicks off with the "Bill Moves On" episode, where the gang has just returned from Bill's funeral (he died of a heart attack), and everyone mocks Dave's 2 hour eulogy. Matthew doesn't really believe Bill is dead, everyone thinks Lisa is drunk, and Catherine (Khandi Alexander) returns to the show for one episode. This is one of the better episodes of the last season, because it's important to the show's history and (as is revealed on one of the commentaries), they didn't really rehearse it or do any run throughs. It was hard enough getting through it once on tape night. The tears you see are real. It ends with everyone taking an item off Bill's desk to remember him. Jimmy takes the whole desk. A nice tribute.
For two reasons. The obvious reason is because Phil Hartman isn't in the picture. Instead, we get Jon Lovitz, who pretty much made the last season of the show unwatchable (except for a couple of episodes). He was really out of place as a regular cast member on the show (though he was great in the guest roles he had earlier in the series), and his character was completely unlikable.
But the second reason I'm not thrilled with the pic is that the original artwork on the box actually had Phil Hartman on it (you can see it here). The cast was standing in front of a picture of Hartman. In the new version, the cast is standing in front of a picture of New York City. Yeah, Hartman wasn't in the last season, but wouldn't that have been a nice nod to Hartman in the final set? The first episode of the season is about Bill McNeal's death, after all.
The fifth season set will be released on March 20.
(S01E07) Along with Mary Tyler Moore and Amy Sedaris, I've always had a crush on Janeane Garofalo. I remember being happy when this episode came on, since I had loved her standup and her work on The Ben Stiller Show (with Andy Dick). She plays Nancy, Dave's ex-girlfriend who seems nice on the outside but is really kind of a nut. She comes to New York City to be with Dave, who never quite told her that they were officially broken up.
Meanwhile, Jimmy meets a business and technology "visionary" named Tom at a conference and arranges for him to be interviewed by Bill, but that doesn't turn out quite as Jimmy or Dave had hoped...
Meanwhile, Dave discovers that the station is $6000 overbudget, and he does some investigating to figure out what's going on.
(S01E05) This episode has one of my favorite scenes of any sitcom ever. It's a scene that probably wasn't even that funny on paper, but Phil Hartman makes hysterical.
The plot: while Jimmy gives Dave the task of deciding who gets what bonus this year (and who gets "the shaft" - nothing), Bill has to contend with fellow employees leaving food and drink on his desk.
(S01E04) For some reason, I think this might have been the first episode of NewsRadio that I ever watched. That seems right to me, and I think I've seen it more times than any other NewsRadio episode, except maybe the episode where Matthew tries to get Dave to let him do a story about Dilbert.
This is the episode where we really see Dave getting in over his head as news director and his employees trying to take advantage of him. During a subway crisis, Dave wants the whole team to snap into action and cover the incident, but everyone is too obsessed with the new desk that Dave got Matthew.
Meanwhile, Lisa and Joe are nervous around each other because they saw each other at the movie theater. Lisa thinks it's because Joe knows about her and Dave, but it's actually something else...
While Dave and Lisa argue about how their relationship shoud progress, Bill annoys Catherine by throwing her a birthday party and Matthew screws up Joey Buttafuoco's name on the air.
This first episode focuses on Dave Nelson, a young news industry professional from the Midwest, who comes to NYC to be the new news director of WNYX. When he gets there, he finds out that not only are the other employees an "interesting" bunch, but he also has to fire Ed Harlow, the current news director.
Starting this coming Sunday, we're going to take you back in time just a little bit. Remember all of those great shows that are no longer airing, either from being cancelled or ending long runs and taking a bow? Or maybe you remember the first seasons of shows still on the air? Of course you do; it's what makes you one of the millions of fans of these cult-classic shows. Well, we're going to bring them back to you, one episode at a time, every week. Read on for the exciting details.
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